The wines of Kir-Yianni, Greece
One of Greece's top wine estates, specializing in Xinomavro

Yianakohori Naoussa, GR - 59200 Naoussa
Tel. +302332051100 Fax +302332051140
UK agent:

Yiannis Boutaris is the founder of the Kir-Yianni winery, located in Macedonia in northwest Greece. The operation is a spin-off from the Boutari group, and went independent in 1997. I tried these wines with Stellios Boutaris (pictured), son of Yiannis, on two separate occasions. 

The summer heat is moderated here by altitude, which ranges from 300 metres to 700 meters – the vineyards are on the slopes of Mount Vermio. Kir Yianni have two vineyards, in Amyndeon (sometimes spelled Amindeo), the higher of the two, and in Naoussa, with the highest being near Amyndeon. They also buy in grapes where necessary. The speciality here is the red grape Xinomavro, which is a bit like Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo in that it can produce profound wines, but is tricky to get right. It’s disease prone, and best harvested late, known for its high acidity. Clones are also important. The wines here are all of high quality and represent brilliant value for money.

The first set of notes are from April 2008; the latter from January 2007.

Kir-Yianni Petra 2008 Amyndeon
This cool-climate, unoaked white is made from Roditis, one of the most widely planted grapes from north Amyndeon, grown at 700 metres in sandy soils. The climate here is continental, and Kir-Yianni supplement their own vineyards with contacts with local growers, some of whom have nice high altitude vineyards – they are encouraging their growers to improve quality by pruning shorter and aiming at lower yields. It’s a youthful, fresh aromatic white with real presence, and notes of herbs, pear and citrus. The palate is fruity and brught with nice weight and texture. A lovely full-flavoured unoaked white. 90/100

Kir-Yianni Akakies Rosé 2008 Amyndeon
Made from the Xinomavro grape variety: the big bunches go to make the rise, and the smaller ones are used for the red. Bright pink and very fruity with notes of cherries and berries. The palate is rounded and bright with focused berry fruit and a hint of structure. 87/100

Kir-Yianni Ramnista 2005 AOC Naoussa
This is a varietal Xinomavro, from a vineyard planted in 1960. Beautifully aromatic, spicy and bright with notes of cherries, herbs and earth on the nose. Quite Italian in style. Serious and savoury. The palate is firmly structured but has lovely purity and focus, showing restrained berry fruits, fine earthy, spicy otes and real length. A serious, ageworthy wine. 93/100 

Kir-Yianni Dyo Elies 2006 Vin de Pays d’Imathia, Naoussa
60% Syrah, 30% Merlot, 10% Xinomavro. Deep colour. Beautifully vivid dark cherry, blackberry and spice nose. Aromatic and fresh. The palate has lovely focused fruit but also real freshness and firm structure, as well as a hint of oak. Lovely fruit here with some tannic structure. 91/100

Kir-Yianni Diaporos 2006 Vin de Pays d’Imathia
87% Xinomavro, 13% Syrah. Refined, aromatic black cherry nose. Fresh, with lovely cured meat, spice and earth notes. The palate has massive structure and weight with high acidity and a lovely savoury intensity. Profound: like a serious Barolo in a modern style. 93/100

Tasted in 2007:

Kir-Yianni Petra 2005 Amyndeon
A bright, appealing wine with a green herbal, lemony nose. The palate has lovely plump melony fruit with nice crispness and great balance. Really appealing. 89/100 (£6.49 Vickbar Wines)

Kir-Yianni Akakies Rosé 2006 Amyndeon
A pale pink/red colour, there’s nice freshness here to the subtly tannic, bright strawberry fruit, which has good acidity. There’s very little residual sugar (2.3 g/l) and the result is a lovely fresh rosé for early drinking. 88/100 (£6.99 Vickbar Wines)

Kir-Yianni Paranga 2005 Macedonia
There’s a mix of grapes in here: Xinomavro, Syrah and Merlot. They come from the eastern end of the region (Naoussa, 300 m) and the west (Amyndeon, 700 m). This red has a bright cherry and spice nose, which is quite savoury. The palate has lovely vivid savoury, spicy fruit with nice smooth spicy tannins giving it a firm, dry, savoury mouthfeel. 87/100 (£6.99 Vickbar Wines)

Kir-Yianni Estate 2004 Vin de Pays d’Imathia, Naoussa
Deep coloured. Full, dark cherry, berry and spice nose, which is quite rich. Modern, fruit-driven palate with lovely spicy richness to the red fruits, backed up by good acidity. Nice stuff. 89/100

Kir-Yianni Ramnista 2003
Varietal Xinomavro. Palish colour. Nicely perfumed dark fruits on the nose with a bit of forest floor. The palate is savoury, full and spicy with lovely elegant structure and a drying finish. Lovely stuff. 89/100 (£12.99 Vickbar Wines) 

Kir-Yianni Syrah 2003 Vin de Pays d’Imathia, Naoussa
Grown on clayish loam over limestone. This is a really nice, fresh Syrah with bright spicy dark cherry and herb aromas together with some chocolatey richness. The palate is quite juicy with a nice softness to the fruit and some chocolatey richness. Modern styled, but still distinctly old world. 90/100 (£13.99 Vickbar Wines)

Kir-Yianni Dyo Elies 2004 Vin de Pays d’Imathia, Naoussa
This has a lovely forward dark fruits nose with a spicy, savoury, earthy twist. The palate is dense and spicy with forward fruit backed up by savoury tannic structure. Nice balance here: this is one for keeping a few years, I reckon. 88/100 (£11.50 Berry Bros & Rudd)

See also:

The wines of Gerovassiliou, Greece

Published 04/11  
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